AC professor wins international piano competition


By Joe Wyatt

Dr. Diego Caetano left a vivid Amarillo College imprint across Europe in June by teaching piano master classes in a number of countries and capping his sojourn by winning the top prize at a prestigious international piano competition.

Caetano, assistant professor of piano at AC, is fluent in eight languages. He employed a number of them when presenting master classes in Spain, Portugal, France, Russia, Germany and the United Kingdom.

He then competed in the Bucharest (Romania) International Piano Competition, emerging with the First Grand Prize, as well as recognition for overall Best Competitor.

Caetano, who competed against an international slate of high-level musicians in Bucharest, has now captured top prizes at 53 national and international piano competitions.

“Everywhere I go I make certain to let people know that I’m from Amarillo College,” Caetano said. “I want people everywhere to equate Amarillo with exceptional music education and opportunity.

“I really believe our reputation in that regard is growing.”

Caetano will continue his global diplomacy on behalf of AC in August with a concert tour in Brazil. He will be joined by Evgeny Zvonnikov, a violinist with the Harrington String Quartet. They will perform together, and Caetano also will perform as a soloist in a performance of Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto with the Symphony Orchestra of Goiás.

The Brazilian-born Caetano looks forward to speaking his native Portuguese during this next musical adventure; however, he also is quite comfortable conversing in English, Italian, Russian, German, French, Spanish, and Japanese.

“I love languages, they’re a comforting hobby for me,” said Caetano, who received his doctoral degree in musical arts at the University of Colorado at Boulder. “Working on grammar in various languages is an activity I turn to when I’m trying to relieve stress. It’s almost a way of meditation for me.

“Music students also find it comforting when I speak their language,” he said. “So many nuances can be lost in translations. I enjoy that I can teach Russian music to Russians in Russia, or teach the music of Schumann to students in Japan without the need for a translator.

“I also think, especially in the world we live in today, that better communication among people is the best recipe for peace.”

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